PNG Customs has carried out its biggest destruction exercise to date with the destruction of various imported seized contraband and illicit goods with over K30 million in duties and taxes.
As a result of compliance and customs enforcement at the borders, these non compliant imports were detected and detained at the border that has been declared unfit for human consumption and have been destroyed under supervion of Law Enforcement Officers.
Six containers in total were seized from eight different importers for various breaches of the Customs Act relating to smuggling, tax evasion offences and intellectual property rights infringements. The total tax value of all the cargo destroyed is over K30 million.
Customs Chief Commissioner David Towe confirmed that the combined contents of the six containers included 6,200 cartons of assorted illicit cigarettes and tobacco products, 5,400 assorted cartons of alcohol products and some jewelry items.
The destruction exercise was carried out just outside Port Moresby in the presence of Customs Enforcement Officers, Police and NCDC’s (Food Sanitation) Health Officers.
The Chief Commissioner explained that the PNG Customs Service has recently increased its law enforcement approaches against transnational criminals and their illicit trade activities.
He stated that various enforcement and compliance strategies were initiated targeted at trends and techniques employed by noncompliant traders, especially those involved in tax evasion through import, manufacturing and distribution of highly dutiable and excisable products such as cigarettes and tobacco and alcohol products.
The proactive approaches undertaken by the Leadership Team at Customs and the vigilance of hardworking Customs frontline officers at the borders have resulted in increased detection, detention and seizure of a huge number of contraband and non duty paid goods recently.
The Chief Commissioner reaffirmed that Customs maintains a strong stand to Take Back PNG, eliminate corruption, improve performance and productivity, install strong law enforcement and border control arrangements to stop tax evasion, smuggling and illegal production and distribution of contraband goods and illicit trade activities.
He strongly warned the importers and exporters to comply with Customs laws or face the consequences.
With the recent amendments to the Customs Act 1951 (amended) by Parliament in November 2020 that significantly increased penalties and fines on infringements of various Customs laws, Customs expects greater voluntary compliance from all the stakeholders.